This article keeps being brought up for discussion in the various corners of the internet where I tend to hang out. Curiously, the article has no publication date. It was discussed on JREF and other forums in 2010 (including the Skeptic forum). In January 2011, Liz Ditz described this as “the article that won’t die”. So, how do we kill this zombie article? And how and why is it being reanimated?
I don’t know how to find out how and why it is being brought back to life, so I started by emailing the Daily Mail themselves to see if they could shed any light on it:
How come your shite, scaremongering article “Scientists fear MMR link to autism” is showing on google as being two hours old, when it’s actually several years old?
The reason I’m so curious is that it’s been brought up for discussion yet again on another skeptic forum – prompting a fisking from JQH (stop giggling at the back – I said fisking).
I’m not sure how to kill this zombie, but in the meantime I will be linking to a Bad Science article using the keywords “wakefield mmr daily mail“. Perhaps that will help?
Update, 21:19, 5/10/2011:
Hat-tip to Konomios for the following…
List of articles published on the same day: I clicked on five articles at random and they were all datestamped.
Check out how many articles on Wakefield and vaccination carry no datestamp: linky. I clicked on four – MMR – The Truth, The unheeded warnings, MMR vaccine side-effects ‘not fully tested’, and MMR doctors disown jab study – none were datestamped.
[Hat-tip also to Little Waster for getting all het up about the lack of datestamping. His irritation helped to motivate me to write this.]
Update, 21:38, 5/10/2011:
I’ve sent another email…
Your other articles from the same day appear to be datestamped OK. Other articles on Wakefield (relevant to MMR) appear not to be. Do you have any comment on this?
Update, 16:16, 7/10/2011
(1) I’ve added some news (including the Mail’s reply) as comments. Further updates will appear in the comments section below.
(2) Another tip of the hat – this time to Josephine Jones.
Update, 16:25, 14/7/12
Here’s a reference to “new evidence” of a link between MMR and autism in a discussion on Amazon: link (as the posts in this discussion have date stamps, I can see that this is from 8th July 2011 – I thought I should point out that this is not news, it is in fact a year old). It was also linked to on Phoenix Rising in 2010, but the PR thread has disappeared/been archived/whatever.
Here’s the Daily Mail article it’s copied and pasted from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-132515/New-evidence-shows-MMR-link-autism.html (without attribution). It seems to be from 9th August 2002: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sitemap-articles-day~2002-08-09.xml and it looks like it hasn’t been modified since then. But it has no date stamp and it’s the first result on Google for mmr autism daily mail: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=mmr+autism+daily+mail&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
There’s also this on the first page of results for that Google search: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-123482/New-MMR-link-autism.html. I expect date stamps will soon be added to these two articles. As the Mail told me in October last year:
We add the publication dates whenever these instances are flagged up to avoid confusion, as has clearly happened in this case.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Update, 14:35, 17/7/12
I emailed the Mail on the evening of Friday 13th July and they have not responded to my email or added date stamps to the articles I flagged up.
Update, 18:04, 24/8/12
Six weeks later… no response from the Daily Mail to my emails and no publication dates added to the articles. Either the Daily Mail did not receive my emails or they weren’t being strictly truthful when they wrote “we add the publication dates whenever these instances are flagged up” in their email to me last October.